We are delighted to share the news that recent Churchill College PhD student Dr Walther Traberg has been awarded the MIT Innovators Under 35 Award for his PhD research using bioelectronic technologies to develop a novel anti-cancer drug screening platform.
Walther is from Denmark but has lived half his life in the UK. Before coming to Churchill College he went to Lancaster University to study Chemical Engineering and Imperial College London, where he pivoted to Biotechnology prior to his PhD. He lives with his wife and two sons, who arrived during his PhD. We met with Walther to find out more about his research, this award and his experience of studying at Churchill!
What inspired you into your field?
I’ve always had a scientific curiosity but losing someone close to me at a young age fuelled a drive in me to help people diagnosed with cancer and other life-threatening diseases. As an engineer-turned-biotechnologist, I enjoy the application of engineering to biology. Biotechnology is also a field ripe with potential for disruptive innovation that can improve lives.
How do you feel about receiving this award?
It’s fantastic to see all the hard work that I and my collaborators have done being recognised in this way and it’s humbling to receive such positive feedback from the global research community. I’m also excited that my lab group led by Prof Róisín Owens, Churchill College, and Cambridge University are recognised as key enablers of this award.
What did you most enjoy about your time at Churchill College?
The people; students and Fellows alike, as well as the close friends I made during my time here. Everyone is passionate about their research, and you’ll be hard pressed to leave a formal hall without having learnt something new!
What are your plans now you have completed your PhD studies?
I have joined the pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk, where I work with leaders to develop and execute the company strategy to drive change for patients living with life-threatening illnesses. It’s a very exciting job and I love that my work has a tangible impact on patients’ lives.
What your long-term career aspirations and plans?
I want to work in R&D strategy with a focus on bringing innovative technologies into industry to accelerate drug development and ultimately improve the lives of patients. Pushing innovation is a key interest and ambition of mine, and having done my PhD at Cambridge offers up a world of opportunities to do exactly that!